Primetime games are great on the front end. You have an extra day to rest up and game plan as well as the game itself, which is certainly a nice treat for the players who work so hard to know all eyes are on their performances.

But, on the back end, things are a bit tougher. This week the Bucs are on a short week now with a game coming this Sunday, and considering all the injuries they had, they probably with they had an extra day (or an extra week) to get ready for this game against the Carolina Panthers, not one less of a day.

On the first day of a short week of prep, these were the four things we learned on Wednesday.

Injury Report

The Buccaneers IR expansion started with Ardarius Glanton having to get surgery the night of his injury on Monday night. Soon after that, guard J.R. Sweezy joined him.

Earlier this morning we were also told that cornerback Vernon Hargreaves will be shut down for the year, and later in the day we learned that tight end O.J. Howard and safety Justin Evans will be as well.

As hard as it is to believe, that list may actually grow even larger before the Panthers game. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson and defensive end Robert Ayers missed practice wth injuries, and they might be candidates to be shut down when it’s all said and done with just two weeks remaining.

With all the IR moves, these are a few of the new names on the active 53-man roster.

David Snubbed

It was a joyous announcement for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they got the news that their defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was making his sixth straight Pro Bowl.

However, with the good news came the bad news that their linebacker Lavonte David did not receive the same recognition for his stellar season.

When McCoy was asked about his Pro Bowl honor today, he was humbled, but he was quick to say that he should have a fellow teammate in the game with him.

McCoy said that it’s unfair when 4-3 outside linebackers get lumped in with 3-4 sack masters who rush the passer more. McCoy said that David is the best in the league at what he does.

It’s hard to argue with him.

Kuechly Praise

The Buccaneers play the Panthers for the second time this season on Sunday and one of the players they’re focusing on is Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly.

When asked about how you game plan for an opposing team’s elite players, Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter had some unique praise for the Panthers All-Pro linebacker. Koetter said Kuechly is the smartest linebacker he’s ever faced as a coach, and told a story of how Kuechly one game not only recognized what play the team was going to run out of the huddle, but even knew some of the check down audibles.

This Year’s A Charm?

There has been plenty of debate over the last few months about what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might do with their head coach, Koetter, after the season is over.

On one hand, you don’t what to just be this revolving door of head coaches as a franchise. Koetter is in just his second season as a head coach, and normally team give coaches at least three years to truly judge them – that’s why contracts are signed for such a length. On the other hand, Koetter is the leader of a team that might finish 4-12 after a 9-7 season, a big disappointment, which is on him.

Each week the media gets a chance to have a conference call with whoever their covering team’s opposing coach is and this week that was Panthers coach Ron Rivera.

Rivera was asked about a situation like the one Koetter is in and he said that getting a third year is important. He told a bit of his own story that he was thankful ownership was patient with him to that time frame because it allowed him to get the players he needed and the game plan he wanted to call.

In his third season, Rivera went 12-4 and took the Panthers to the NFC Championship game.

Should the Bucs do the same with Koetter?

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at:
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4 years ago

Koetter, maybe; Smith, no way.

4 years ago

Koetter absolutely, Licht yes. We’ll see on Smith.

4 years ago

That 2012 Panthers team also finished the year winning 5 of their last 6 including the last 4. He’s also never had a 4 win season during his tenure. The comparison is a reach, Dirks in a result driven business. He’s been with this offense 3 years and can’t get it right. I wish him luck as an OC next year but he’s to blame for his firing.

4 years ago

I’m sure Rivera would want us to keep Koetter for a third year. I bet he would like it if we signed him to a life time contract, LoL! If we fired Koetter, and hired Gruden, Rivera might have to actually work for his own paycheck!

Ken Grant
4 years ago

Lavonte David getting snubbed is criminal. He has be one of the very, very best defenders in the league this year never mind best linebackers. Pretty much every publication that creates a best of the best seasonal roster has made the distinction between edge rushers and stand up linebackers. The NFL is, as per usual, woefully lagging behind.

Ken Grant
4 years ago

Ready to move on from Koetter personally. This staff has shown an inability to make adjustments in-game and were too slow to adapt the schemes week to week when things were not going well. Fact is they are routinely out-coached on game day.